Antimicrobial resistance is a term we are hearing more and more often. As a nurse I have seen these antimicrobial resistant bacteria in many patients I have taken care of. These include: Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus(MRSA); Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus(VRE); Antibiotic Resistant Mycobacterium Tuberculosis; Clostridium Difficile, and many more.
So what causes these bacterias to become resistant to the antibiotics that were so effective before ? Resistance can occur from mutation or by bacteria obtaining new DNA. The excessive and unnecessary use of antibiotics in humans and animals has also contributed to antimicrobial resistance. Limiting the over prescription of antibiotics for minimal complaints such as colds could decrease the risk of bacteria developing resistance.
Recently there has been cases in the U.S. of a superbug. This bacteria was resistant to the Colistin antibiotic which is the one used when no other antibiotics seem effective. It is estimated that superbugs cause 700,000 deaths each year. So what can we do to protect ourselves from these superbugs in the years to come ? Reducing the antibiotic use in humans and animals, promoting hygiene, and sending researchers out to find new antibiotics in our environment.